Austen Time Again

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Where has the year gone? It is yet again the end of summer, and another birthday of mine has been celebrated – and now there is only a short time until the Jane Austen Festival yet again begins.

I’ll be going again, just for a short visit during the last weekend. I can’t wait to meet up with old and new friends during the weekend, including listening to a talk from Professor Mullan and the Farthingales ball in the Assembly rooms after a quick visit to Prior Park at LONG last! This year will be my fourth year in Bath – wow! Really 4 years?! Feels like no time have passed since my first visit to Bath and attended my first ball. So much have happened since then, so many friends have come and gone, and so many memories made and treasured.

What an eventful year it has been, university college start for me (the first semester passed) my first time in Italy (Rome and Sperlonga), a visit to the highlands of Edinburgh with a ball in the assembly rooms called by Stuart Marsden, and lots and lots of book tours and reviews. And of course my first practical part of my education (6 weeks in a kindergarten).

My hope for my short visit to lovely Bath is to enjoy the company of my friends, meet up with acquaintances, including Cassandra Grafton and maybe Jane Odiwe, have fun at the ball and I hope for good weather for my first visit to Prior Park!

The autumn’s question will be: Will the long practical part of my education (next year for 6 months) be in England? Maybe even in Bath….

 

 

The Exile Kitty Bennet & Le Belle Èpoque

Book Tour of “The Exile, Kitty Bennet and Le Belle Époque”

The Exile Kitty BennetWelcome back dear readers!

It’s been a little while since I was last here, but now its summer, and I have read yet another amazing story! This time it was by Don Jacobsen, and was called; “The Exile; Kitty Bennet and Le Belle Époque”

I was made aware of this book by my good friend, Janet, who was good enough to make me aware that this was the SECOND book in a series, so I asked for recommendation if I should read the first to understand the second – well as a very curious and avid reader, I threw myself over the first book, I quickly got to the second book, after only a few days!

I was quite amazed with the Bennet family and their heritage in the form of a wardrobe. Though I did get some connotations to “The Witch, the lion and the wardrobe” when I started reading, and maybe I also did think about the wardrobe in Harry Potter as well.

I was speaking with Don Jacobsen about the wardrobe and the series in general, and he described the series main artifact and idea like this; the Bennet Wardrobe Series is an alternative history in the Jane Austen Universe. While the characters are familiar, I have endeavored to provide each of them with an opportunity to grow into three-dimensional personalities, although not necessarily in the Regency period.  If they were shaped or stifled by the conventions of the period, the time-traveling powers of The Wardrobe helped solve their problems, make penance, and learn lessons by giving them a chance to escape that time frame, if only for a brief, life-changing interlude.

The Wardrobe underlines my conviction that each of these characters could enjoy fulfilling lives once they had overcome the inner demons holding them back.

 Would it have been possible for them to do so staying on the Regency timeline? Perhaps. However, something tickled my brain—maybe it was the intersection between my youthful fascination with speculative fiction and my mature appreciation of Austen and 19th Century fiction—that threw the idea of the Wardrobe up in front of me.  Now my protagonists could be immersed in different timeframes beyond the Regency to learn that which they needed to learn in order to realize their potentials and in the process carry the eternal story of love and change forward to even the 21st Century. Some Bennets will travel further and remain in the future longer than others. We may not be privy to accounts of all of the journeys they take. Rather, we may see whispers of those trips as they impact others

This wardrobe though was made by a mysterious carpenter in the year 1650, with special abilities which could only be accessed by Bennets. A wardrobe which transport people with Bennet blood. And ONLY people with Bennet blood. Two trips, one into the future and one trip back to their original time. All of us who have wished to travel in time, to get away from our troubles of our present, well Beware of What You Wish For!

The Bennet Wardrobe may grant it!

Longbourn, December 1811. The day after Jane and Lizzy marry, dawns especially, cold for young Kitty Bennet. Called to Papa’s bookroom, she is faced with a resolute Mr. Bennet who intends to punish her complicity in her sister’s elopement. She will be sent packing to a seminary in far-off Cornwall. She reacts like any teenager chafing under the “burden” of parental rules—she throws a tantrum. In her fury, she slams her hands against the doors of The Bennet Wardrobe.

Her heart’s desire? I wish they were dead! Anywhere but Cornwall!  Anywhere but here!

As Lydia later said, “The Wardrobe has a unique sense of humor.”

London, May 1886.  Seventeen-year-old Catherine Marie Bennet tumbles out of The Wardrobe at Matlock House to come face-to-face with the austere Viscount Henry Fitzwilliam, a scion of the Five Families and one of the wealthiest men in the world. However, while their paths may have crossed that May morning, Henry still fights his feelings for another woman, lost to him nearly thirty years in his future.  And Miss Bennet must decide between exile to the remote wastelands of Cornwall or making a new life for herself in Victorian Britain and Belle Époque France.

Let’s just say I was biting my nails off in the attempt not to throw a tantrum when I finished this amazing, nerve-wrecking story, and now have to wait for book III in this series! But as Don Jacobsen was good enough to inform me, we can look forward to three more books, and possibly three spin-off novellas associated with this series – Take NOTICE readers, book III can be expected to be published in November!!

 

My review of “Exile; Kitty Bennet and Le Belle Époque”  

To be honest, I thought I would hate the book when I opened the cover – but to my surprise and delight, I couldn’t put the book down!!! It was bold, daring, adventurous and nerve-wrecking!

Surprise was the first emotion, which made itself present when I started reading; Kitty going through the wardrobe – and better yet, a change to a character I thought was annoying and childish from Austen’s original work. And then to be introduced to dashing Henry Fitzwilliam, who was swoon-worthy from the first moment! Though also a man with a mysterious past.

We are also introduced to the concept of The Five Families; Bennet, Gardiner, Darcy, Bingley and Fitzwilliam, who have gained titles, power and social position by investments, knowledge and luck and are in Victorian Britain some of the wealthiest people in London. The wardrobes abilities are guarded by not only the five families but also a firm, which is run by descendants of known characters like Reynolds, Fitzwilliam and Darcy.

Well, to follow Kitty as she grew as a character was quite an impression, especially away from her family. We see a childish coughing ignored Kitty Bennet blossom into a strong, independent and intelligent woman, who survives everything which is thrown at her during her adventures.

New characters appear, and you start to question if your impressions are right about them, even your impression of Henry Fitzwilliam and Kitty are shaken.

The-ExileIf you are a literary buff, you will recognize the names of; Watson, Holmes, Colonel Sebastian Moran and Moriarty immediately – but by this time, you will have forgotten you were in the Victorian Britain with Kitty, I will assure you! We are also introduced to Dr. Freud, any who have read a little psychology knows he was a pioneer of working with peoples mind, not only their bodies – and much to my surprise we are introduced to not only Victorian London, but also Paris, and its hayday of impressionist painters who will play a somewhat crucial role to reunite Kitty with her beloved. And the ending, my god what a cliff hanger, enough to torment even the best of readers!

A slight warning to younger readers, mentions of kidnapping, rape, prostitution and beatings will appear.

I know dear readers, I know, it’s WAY too long this entry, but Don Jacobsen couldn’t help himself but allow us a glimpse into “The Exile; Kitty Bennet and Le belle époque” and his favorite chapter of the story;

 Chapter XXVIII

The Madeleine, Paris, Evening of November 7, 1891

Jacques Robard was freezing.  No matter how deeply he huddled into his old woolen overcoat, the wind cut through him and froze his breath as it left his nose, the vapor leaving a rime on his coal black moustache. He pulled a doubled over blanket tighter around his waist to shield his rapidly numbing legs. Robard sat hunched over on the bench seat of his empty hay wagon so as to present the smallest possible target for the fierce wind roaring out of the Ardennes, Jacques’ alienated homeland. His draft horse suffered as well, shaggy head dropped low into the blasts, lugging into his collar, making clopping steps to slowly move the big cart away from the great market at Les Halles in la Deuxieme Arrondisement.

With the last of the sun vanishing from the sky well before dinnertime, snow-laden clouds had been chased south by those vicious gusts. The precipitation was nearer ice than snow, stringing exposed skin and dancing in tiny whirlwinds spinning down dim and deserted streets.

Hein, mon vieux Porthos, this weather may undo us yet, no? Still a long way to go to St. Denis. If le patron had not insisted we make that delivery down to Les Halles, you’d be in the stables, and I would be warming up little Odette with a bottle of vin ordinarie.

Jacques Robard was a typical example of the classic French paysan…square built with powerful shoulders hardened by years of lifting and hauling. His shock of coarse black hair was well hidden under three ragged scarves. He would never be called handsome with his face a map of hard work and hard living. But he would not frighten small children either. Robard was quite pragmatic about his life, as befit his station, knowing that the aristos and bourgeoisie would allow him to exist on the margins as long as he knew his place and kept to it.

Truth be told, he found that knowledge to be comforting.

He had been born in the lost province of Lorraine, in Bar-le-Duc, just two years after the politician Poincaré. Now twenty-nine, Jacques had bounced around northern France, first with his parents after they fled the Prussians in 1870 and then, after his two years of compulsory service in the Army, on his own. He had considered doing another two as a rich boy’s remplacement, but he had thought better of it. Instead, he had chopped coal and iron in the Northwest near Nancy. He had worked barges running up the Meuse through Belgium into Antwerp. Gradually Paris had made her Siren’s song, capturing him as she had so many others. He had spent the last two years as a teamster guiding Porthos in from the hay market in St. Denis to the massive terminal at Les Halles where Paris came to shop.

The road from St. Denis through the Madeline was beginning to wear on him. There was little variety with the exception of new construction as the city stretched itself with the provinces draining excess labor into its center. He was not sure what he wanted to do with himself, but he was certain that he was nearly done staring at Porthos’ hindquarters day in and day out. Maybe a small farm with a good woman and a crowd of les petits.

Those dreams had to hold, however, until he had returned Porthos and the wagon to M. Laurent’s lot. However, Robard was beginning to doubt the successful outcome of his passage from the city; the air held a promise that Paris would be buried under several inches of snow and ice before dawn lightened the rooftops. If they had been outside of the city, he could have guided Porthos off the road and into the woods where the trees could have shielded man and beast from the worst of the storm.

Sadly, he had several miles to go before that form of relief could even be considered.

Tonight is no night to be caught outside. I’m going to have to keep my eyes open for a stable and just hope that I can presume on the good nature of the hostler.

Maggie was sure that both she and Kate had seen their last sunset. Moving down the long stretch of the deserted Rue Vignon had taken what had seemed like hours. She had been half dragging, half carrying the weakening woman as the miscarriage, the drug, and the infernal cold sapped the lady’s remaining strength.

The first part of their flight had gone as smoothly as could be hoped given the circumstances. Not a soul interrupted them. The working girls had all taken to their rooms knowing that there would be no customers on such a miserable night.  Madame Flournoy had stationed herself and a bottle of cognac in front of a cheerful coal fire snapping away in the grate of her sitting room. Winters’ man was nowhere to be seen.

Maggie had stripped the sorry bed of its quilt and cover, reconciling herself to the modest theft with the knowledge that Madame had been well compensated for the use of the garret room and its furnishings. After the two escapees slowly clumped down the rear stairs, Maggie scoured the “lost and found—but never returned” closet. Holding a failing Kate against a wall by the kitchen, Maggie had first wrapped her in the bedclothes and then draped a cape over everything.  She had discovered an old pair of felt workman’s boots that she tied to her friend’s lower legs with strips of torn sheeting. Rifling through the rag bin again, Maggie then appropriated for herself a man’s greatcoat, left behind by a customer seeking to flee without paying for his pleasure.

Ears and faces protected by some drapes that had finally been deemed too decrepit to grace even a whore’s boudoir, the two had struck out from the house.

Earlier, in the garret room, while Kitty still had had her wits about her, she had dug her treasures out from their hiding place behind the commode cabinet. She thrust them into Maggie’s hands, saying only, “Sacre Coeur…Montmartre. Safe there.”

Now with their boots and outer clothes clogged with snow and ice, the idea that two women—one terribly ill, the other having taken most of her exercise either running up stairs to the garret room or on her back in her own—could slog over two miles in an early blizzard was proving to be ruinously optimistic. Leaning Kitty against the post of yet another unlit streetlamp, Maggie looked back upon their path and was both pleased and horrified to see that their footprints were already nearly filled in. She could not see more than one hundred yards ahead. In her heart, Maggie knew that they were on a fool’s errand…that they would never get to Montmartre.

But try they would.

Porthos dragged one tired hoof in front of the other as Jacques turned the wagon onto the Rue Vignon, finally pointing toward St. Denis. The surrounding buildings cast the street into a gloom that was enhanced by the lack of any streetlights.

Hmmmf…even the lamplighters have gone to ground.

Rue Vignon was usually inaccessible to Robard as the gendarmes would have chased him off the residential thoroughfare. He would have had to keep to the alleys or take the long way around. Tonight, though, he could drive down the middle of the street without fear of reprisal. There was neither a soul to slow him nor an omnibus to compete with his tired horse.

Nearing the intersection with the Rue Tronchet, he noticed someone straining to make their way north. He had plenty of time to realize that the snow-crusted form was actually two people, one clearly helping the other. They were struggling.

Never one to hold himself immune to another’s misery, Jacques urged Porthos along with a quick flick of the reins. Pulling up alongside the pair slowly weaving along, Jacques shouted to make himself heard over the weather.

“Hien…puis-je vous aider?”[i] (can I help you?)

Robard’s world stopped and would never again spin the same.  The taller of the pair quickly turned toward him. A gust of wind whipped down the canyon between the apartment blocks and lifted the wrappings off of the greatest present the Frenchman had ever received…a vision of his future found in a cloud of auburn hair and brilliant green eyes set in the palest of skin.

Maggie held out a sagging Kate to Jacques who had leapt from his seat. Settling her birdlike weight on the wagon’s bed, he scraped the few remaining pieces of hay left behind on the warped floorboards around her body for the tiniest bit of extra insulation. As he helped Maggie up to lay her down beside Miss Bennet, a frisson jolted through him when he grasped her forearms, even though she was wrapped in layers of coat…and he wore massive workman’s gauntlets.

Regaining his composure, he asked a simple question.

“Ou?”

Without a word, Miss Small, late of Poplar, handed him a dog-eared carte de visite, a hand painted rose gracing the reverse side.

Giveaway Time! I am sure you are thinking FINALLY! So bear with me for another 2 minutes 😀

I am also very pleased to be able to be giving you a chance to enter this giveaway for this amazing book! Even if I were you guys, I would go straight to the buy option *smiles sheepishly* Just follow this link;

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0ca86b9b10/?

Terms and Conditions:

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented (which will be verified). If an entrant does not do so, that entry will be disqualified. Remember: Tweet and comment once daily to earn extra entries.

Or you can follow these links and buy BOTH books, in this amazing and unique series!

The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque

The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey

Though if you want to know more of Henry Fitzwilliam and his mysterious past, then follow this link;

https://www.amazon.com/Henry-Fitzwilliams-War-Wardrobe-Novella-ebook/dp/B01L0W7ILA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1498120262&sr=8-1&keywords=henry+fitzwilliam%27s+war

That’s it dear readers, happy reading and happy summer holidays! Off to read another regency book *smiles sheepishly and waves*

Interview with Gianna Thomas

And I’m back, dear readers! After busy weeks at university, and another passed paper yay! I have found time to do a small interview with lovely author Gianna Thomas, after reading her newest book, “Darcy vs Bingley”

Darcy vs Bingley

Thank you for joining me, Gianna, here on my blog, I’ll jump straight to my questions.

S: How did you get the idea for Darcy vs Bingley?

G: I woke up one day with the perfect set down for Caroline Bingley from Mr. Darcy and wrote it as a one-shot on FanFiction.net. Had not been thinking about writing that. It just came out of the blue. And it worked very well.

S: When were you first introduced to Pride and Prejudice? And Darcy, Bingley, Jane and Elizabeth

G: Years ago, I read Pride and Prejudice on my own. Don’t remember what I thought of it back then. However, in November 2012, I acquired Abigail Reynold’s “A Pemberley Medley” and fell in love with the P&P variations. I bought two more of her books and began acquiring more books over the next few months. Diana J. Oaks “One Thread Pulled” permanently set the hook, and I became an avid P&P what ifs fan. By the end of 2013, I had published “Attending a Ball” which was the first prequel for my “Darcy and Elizabeth Series” and added over 200 variations to my library.

S: Did you find the audience of Fanfiction readers helpful while writing the book?  Would you use Fanfiction again?

G: The FanFiction readers were a great help. I had only planned a one-shot as you’ll recall, but the readers loved it and wanted more. Did I want to do more? Did I have more to add to the one-shot? The answer was ‘yes,’ and I’m delighted they insisted because I loved doing “Darcy vs Bingley”. It would not have happened if they hadn’t clamored for it. I had also mentioned to the readers that I would consider suggestions because at first I wasn’t sure where I was going to take the plot. Several of the suggestions were excellent, and I did incorporate them into the book, and they made it better.

I had used FanFiction for “Darcy Chooses” posting when it was still being offered for pre-order as I’m doing for “Darcy vs Bingley”.  Since the new book will be in Kindle Unlimited, all but the first three chapters will be removed by April 24th as the book will be released April 26th.

I will use FanFiction again but not for my current WIP “Elizabeth’s Choice” the sequel to “Darcy Chooses”. The sequel to Darcy vs Bingley, which I hope will be released in the autumn, will be posted to FanFiction.

S: How did you come up with the funny moments where Caroline Bingley is made ridiculous?

G: I helped raise my three brothers, so I identify more with guys than gals. I’ve always had more men friends than girl friends because of my brothers and because the traits of some women, that I find in abundance in Caroline Bingley, are rather off putting. The catty comments and the tendency to gossip particularly malicious talk are major traits of Miss Bingley and are ones that repel me. So, I just increased her bad tendencies and wrote about the reactions I felt recipients of her sharp tongue and wrath would display. Especially if they didn’t take her seriously. 😊

S: Was any of the plot inspired by family or maybe even friends?

G: The scene when Richard first arrives was inspired by guy gatherings and the things they do or say.

S: Will there maybe be a sequel to Darcy vs Bingley?

G: Oh, yes! Darcy vs Bingley wouldn’t let me stop with just the one book. I mentioned a Caroline Bingley sequel to the FanFiction readers, and a number of them mentioned that they would like to see a sequel written. So, a sequel about what happens to Caroline after the Netherfield Ball and her subsequent marriage is being pondered for the autumn, and I already know some of the scenes that will appear.

S: Will you do a book tour? With a chance of giveaways?

G: I don’t do book tours. As far as giveaways, I gave two away with my monthly post on AustenAuthors.net where I introduced Darcy vs Bingley. I also gave away eighteen ARCs to reader/reviewers for an honest review. At the moment, I’m not planning on any more giveaways for Darcy vs Bingley but will have at least two giveaways for its sequel in the autumn.

S: Did your new book give you a new view of Darcy and Bingley? And maybe even Elizabeth and Jane as well?

G: Yes, my Darcy was not so uppity and was attracted to Elizabeth from the start. Bingley had a bit more spine than Jane Austen’s. Elizabeth was not so prejudiced as she also was attracted to Darcy when she first met him. When Darcy refuted Wickham’s charges, Elizabeth was quicker to admit she was wrong about both of them. Jane is basically the sweet person she’s always been. I’m not sure that I could see her in any other role other than with a quiet and mild spirit.

S: Which of the Bennet girls do you prefer to write about? And do you have a favorite character from the original book?

G: Definitely, it would have to be Elizabeth. She and I have a number of traits that are similar, so

I identify with her readily. Again, she would also be my favorite character from the original Pride and Prejudice. Darcy is not very likable until his letter to Elizabeth. And though Austen’s Darcy is not very swoon-worthy at first, I try to make my Darcy’s a bit more swoon-worthy. Sigh! And, yes, I still prefer Matthew Macfadyen. 😊

S: And lastly is there a new project being written?

G: Elizabeth’s Choice was originally scheduled to publish in April, but it will be May or first of June because Darcy vs Bingley demanded to be written first. All I could do was go with the muse because my head was filled only with Darcy vs Bingley. Elizabeth’s Choice has been started, and I have part, if not most of the plot already mapped out. So, hopefully, I can stay on schedule.

And that’s it for now dear readers! Summer is coming, and I wish everybody a very nice summer filled with friends, travels and sun!

My Mr. Darcy & Your Mr. Bingley Book Tour

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Hello dear readers,

Here I am once again, this time hosting lovely Linda Beutler on her book tour with her new book, “My Mr. Darcy & Your Mr. Bingley” and I am very excited to be involved in this tour! I will jump straight into the fray and give you all a book blurb about her new book! Happy Reading!

Book Blurb: One never quite knows where the inspiration will strike. For award-winning author Linda Beutler and My Mr. Darcy & Your Mr. Bingley, the moment of genesis arrived in a particularly contentious thread at the online forum A Happy Assembly. What is the nature of personal responsibility? Where do we draw the line between Mr. Bingley being too subject to Mr. Darcy’s “persuasion” and Mr. Darcy playing too heavily on Mr. Bingley’s “sensibility”? This is a conundrum guaranteed to raise even more questions. What happens to the plot and character dynamics of Pride & Prejudice if Mr. Bingley is given just a dash more spine? Or if Jane Bennet decides enough embarrassment is too much? How does Mr. Darcy manage the crucial apology a more stalwart Mr. Bingley necessitates he make? What if Mr. Darcy meets relations of Elizabeth Bennet’s for whom she need not blush on their home turf rather than his? Suffice it to say, this is a story of rebuked pride, missing mail, a man with “vision”, a frisky cat, and an evening gown that seems to have its own agenda.

I would personally say this sounds very intriguing! I do think it sounds like a very interesting and very catch on read, especially considering a Bingley with a spine, a Jane Bennet who might have a change of heart or a broken heart, a very contrite Darcy and an Elizabeth who doesn’t know if she can trust Darcy when she can’t even trust her most beloved sister. I can reveal that I am in progress of reading “My Mr. Darcy & Your Mr. Bingley” and it’s well worth a read! I am continuously surprised about Jane Bennet, and how she is developing, and how Jane decides that enough is enough, and ultimately how she acts around Mr. Bingley considering her broken heart. Mr. Bingley is developing a very nice spine, while he is trying to stand on his own two feet.   

LBinBLuex7-2.jpg Linda

Welcome to my blog, Linda and thank you for visiting! Linda has her passion in writing and her horticultural interests, which includes green fingers, and she is a national speaker- she is also president of the International Clematis Society and she is a West-coaster in America, from Oregon. I will let Linda take over from here, so here she is; Linda Beutler!

Dear Sophia,

Thank you for hosting a blog tour day for My Mr. Darcy & Your Mr. Bingley, and for being so accommodating when I asked to interview Jane Bennet. As I said when I suggested it, writers must feel Jane is a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” sort of character. For such a gentle and serene soul—clearly meant by Jane Austen for be a foil for the more lively and “prejudiced” Elizabeth—it is surprising how little leeway readers allow in modifying her character. Clearly, even a chapter or two of “vain Jane” can never be redeemed! But oh, the complaints if she is a mush-mouthed milk-toast! There’s no winning! In Pride and Prejudice Elizabeth attributes everything good to her sister: perfect unassuming manners, alert mind, looks for the best in everyone, and is well informed. Yet somehow Jane is read as being passive, quiet, even what one might call shy and not very smart. But there is no evidence for any of that negativity in P&P!

Before we get on to the interview, here is a little excerpt from the story, taken from the moment when Mr. Bennet has finally gotten through to Jane, following a little show-and-tell with the barn cats. (One of which, Circe, was interviewed at Half Agony…Half Hope on day three of the blog tour.) Whatever cloud Jane was drifting along in was effectively dispersed.

To her credit, Jane Bennet was not squeamish. She had not spent much time with cats since playing with kittens as a child, and she was morbidly fascinated until the weight of the metaphor bore down upon her. Shaking and in tears, she turned to her father. “Th-this…is what you think of m-me?”

“It is, though I think rather better of Mr. Bingley than to call him a rat. It was the sort of creature that suited the purpose.”

“Oh dear…” Jane murmured.

Mr. Bennet had a handkerchief at the ready. He took Jane’s other hand and slowly led her back to the house. Before entering, he pressed his point. “My love, what I think of you is only partly the issue. What I fear, and what you should fear, is that this is what Mr. Bingley is beginning to think of you.”

Jane’s eyes widened. “I see.”

“What I mean to do is write a note to Mr. Bingley asking him to meet me in my library tomorrow morning. When he arrives, you will be in the room, not I. That is, if you do mean to accept him.”

 She nodded. “I do.”

“Jane, you must let a gentleman be a man. And if you think you can manage it, try to make it appear as though it is his idea. Do I make myself clear?”

 Jane met her father’s eye. “Yes, sir!” With that, Jane darted into the house to have a good cry and pick out her prettiest day gown. It was as if she felt herself walking out from under a spell. My manners! Oh, to think what I have put Mr. Bingley through! Wretched, evil Jane! Well no, he had it coming, but I must know when enough is enough. Throughout the remainder of the day and into the evening, her opinion of her father was radically and forever altered for the better.

For this interview, I asked Jane to meet me for tea at Lady Di’s British Shop & Tea Room in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Your readers will want to know what she wore, I expect.

“Yes, I do believe the females of my readers would love to know what Jane Bennet wears, which colors and which style, Linda.” 

Her gown was pale blue muslin with springs of green leaves in tambour stitch scatted over the whole. Her spencer was deep blue, enhancing her eyes, and her bonnet had a straw brim with smocked fabric rising over her hair and gathered at the back of her neck with a green grosgrain ribbon. The bonnet was the same blue as the spencer. There was a simple ornament of lace and leaves over her left ear where the straw met the fabric. She caused quite a stir with the ladies who work at Lady Di’s, but when we explained our need for a private conversation, they graciously withdrew.

LB: Miss Bennet, thank you for visiting the future to speak to me today.

Jane: You are most welcome! Your family is well, and the cat and dog?

LB: We are all very well, thank you. I understand from the point in the story I have just excerpted, your sister Elizabeth is from home.

Jane (looking pensive): Indeed, she is. I fear she did not think well of me when she departed to stay with our cousin and Charlotte. Upon reflection, she ought not to have thought well of me. (Jane sighs heavily.)

LB: Would you care to explain?

Jane (after a sip of tea): If I could explain my actions to myself, I might have an easier go of explaining them to you, or Lizzy, or poor Mr. Bingley! (Her chin shivers; she blinks back tears.)

LB: Yes, he seemed to be growing disheartened, you must admit.

Jane (vehemently): Of course I do! I truly did wish to dance with him at the St. Valentine’s Day assembly, but with the heat and all of the eyes upon us, it is as if I entered a trance. The next morning, I could hardly believe what I had done! When he called, all I could think of was stating my feelings, since I had been accused of not showing enough before!

LB: No one would think less of you for scolding him a little. It seemed to take him an inordinate amount of time to know his own mind.

Jane (looks rueful): You are kind to say so, but it does not forgive my subsequent actions. But Lizzy—and Mama!—would not relent. It was Mr. Bingley this, and Mr. Bingley that, morning, noon, and night. (Her eyes take on a look of wonder.) Why, I suppose I might say I became rebellious!

LB: You? Jane Bennet? Rebellious?

Jane: That is how it felt at the time. Everyone was pushing! Even Papa, in his way… I have always sought to be obedient, truly I have.

LB: I believe you.

Jane (gives me a small smile): Are you teasing me?

We both laugh.

LB: Please, go on.

Jane: Once I started along the path of defiance, it was too hard to stop. I wished to be sure of Mr. Bingley, and felt my influence over him ought to be the strongest, if we were to marry, but I went about it very ill. And now Papa has had to remind me of my place, but I am glad he did.

LB: Mr. Bennet was quite worried. Tell me, would you call your father indolent? Neglectful?

Jane (sips her tea and ponders a moment before replying): I can see how others might. Lizzy and I do think he is not as attentive to Kitty and Lydia as he ought to be. And he does love to tease. I suppose that’s where Lizzy gets it. But without fail, and as you just read, he always comes forward when he is truly needed. He can be very wise and protective. He would not have arranged that little performance unless he loved me very much, and I know I have tried his patience. (She shakes her head, and I can see her puddling up again.)

LB (quickly changing the subject): How do you think Lizzy is getting on with Mr. and Mrs. Collins?

Jane (smiling fondly): She will make the best of everything, although I am curious about Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Can she possibly be as good and noble and…majestic as our cousin says? I fear he is given to exaggeration. (There is a Bennet-family twinkle in her eye.)

LB: Gee, ya think?

Jane (looking at me oddly): Pardon me?

LB (having forgotten that modern idiomatic irony might be beyond her): No, pardon me. English has suffered as a language in the last 200 years. But at least we have bookends. (Clears throat.) So tell me one last thing: what will you say to Mr. Bingley in the morning, when you meet him in your father’s library?

Jane (blushing): My father said to allow a gentleman to be a man. I’m not certain I comprehend his meaning entirely, but as best I can, I shall let Mr. Bingley do the talking. I only hope I have not ruined everything. (She becomes sly.) But I suppose you know how it will go? You couldn’t…?

LB (feigning shock): Miss Bennet! Are you asking for a hint?

Jane (quietly): Yes, I am.

LB (whispering): That would be telling!

Jane laughs weakly. We are quiet as we finish our tea, but I find myself grinning like the Cheshire Cat!

Thanks a million, Sophia, for welcoming the blog tour, and allowing me to get inside Jane Bennet’s head a bit for your readers! —Linda B

Linda, it was my pleasure to host you here! You are welcome to come back anytime!

And that dear readers, was my visit with Linda, for this time, at least. Now to the giveaway…

The eBook is available on Amazon. The Paperback should follow in two to three weeks.

Terms and Conditions for entering giveaway:

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post that has a giveaway attached for the tour. (1 comment/blog post) Entrants should provide the name of the blog where they commented (which will be verified). You may enter once by following the author on twitter and once by following the author on Facebook.

Remember, tweet daily and comment once per post with a giveaway to earn extra entries.

Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter.

**NOTE: E-book copies are available for 8 winners and the giveaway is international! 8 eBooks will be given away to 8 different winners.**

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0ca86b9b3/?

For contacting Linda, do try these;

Twitter: @oregonclematis

Facebook: Linda Beutler Author

Wandering Pemberley’s Gardens

That was it, dear readers for this time, I’ll be back soon, Cheers!

 

My Scotland Adventure

Another lovely weekend with friends and Austen related adventures have ended. Not only was it filled with friends, a certain birthday but also a grand regency ball. New friends, old acquaintances and of course the rumors I had heard about Stuart Marsden calling the dances at the ball, was true!

My companions this time around was; my regency sister Christin and good friends Eva and Elaine. Eva, Elaine and I had planned weeks ahead of the weekend, to ensure that Christin knew nothing of our plans for her birthday, including the many gifts we had bought for her.

Well we arrived in Edinburgh, and managed to hide the gifts at our accommodation – before we joined Christin at Grey friars Bobby: a statue of a famous dog but also a tavern named after the dog’s owner. IMG_1339

The comical thing was that we had intended to join a Harry Potter walking tour, but we didn’t manage to find the starting point, which annoyed us, all to a certain extent.

After we had dealt with our disappointed hopes, we walked around on Victoria Street, one of the main streets where we saw the cafe where J. K. Rowling wrote “Harry Potter and the sorcerer’s stone”,

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Well Eva, Christin, Elaine and I visited several tartan shops to find appropriate sashes for our gowns for the ball the next evening. While we looked for the sashes, Elaine pointed out a sign which read;

IMG_1352 Yes, that Robert Burns, the poet!

While we were at it, we ran into an old friend, namely dance Master Andrew Rawe and his lovely girlfriend Sophie, who was also exploring Edinburgh. We ended up at Brassiere Valérie where we took tea and crumpets. Then we parted ways from Sophie and Andrew, we walked up to the Castle, Edinburgh Castle that is. We took pictures from the outside.

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Entryway to the Ministry of Magic

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Saturday dawned.

We visited the graveyard to find Tom Riddles and McGonagall’s graves – and we did find them – and posed for HP related photos, and I fell over Sir Walter Scott Sr.’s grave, which quite surprised me, since I didn’t know that family was Scottish.

I bought a gift for a friend at home, in form of a Slytherin scarf, when we passed the Harry Potter shop.

We also once again walked up to the Castle, and this time entered on the tour. The girls and I had started this joke between us that all we did was walk on stairs/steps which also held true for the castle, funnily enough. Since there was many a step when walking around the castle.

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But my goodness that castle has a very dramatic and bloody history! From the earliest days of the 1100s and all the way up to WWII, it has been bumped, burned, captured, taken or housed royals; including the famous Mary, Queen of Scots.

Actually in 1503 King Henry VIII’s sister Margaret was married into the Scottish royal family, to unite the two countries – it ultimately failed.

It was another 100 years before Scotland and England was united by inheritance and rules of succession, namely after the death of Queen Elizabeth I of England, when her cousin: King Jacob VI of Scotland became King James I of England – and united the two countries.

Pardon me for this little history lesson, dear readers.

After the tour of the castle, we hurried to our dance practice at the Assembly Rooms, which was housed in an old Georgian building. 2015-09-28 19.13.22

I reacquainted myself with several people from Bath, met new people and was taught new dances, including a few quadrilles by the excellent if firm dance master, Stuart Marsden. Quadrilles are tricky, so personally I think I prefer the country dances, but they are good fun – once you understand the patterns.

Then we returned to our accommodation, to shower, dress and prepare for the evening ahead.

We managed to get there on time, where to we talked and met everybody who was to attend the grand regency ball, which had last taken place in the self-same rooms 200 years before in 1817 on March 11th.

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Photo credit: Juliette Lichman

The ball room was quite amazing, a long gallery of a room, with several beautiful chandeliers, and since I am a singer, I thought the acoustics were quite beautiful.

As seen we had quite a lot of fun, as several gentlemen were in kilts or uniforms. But to say the truth, we had a ball, and a lot of fun! Laughter was ripe and so was silliness.

During the evening, I had the pleasure to dance with James Arnott, a new acquaintance – but also a regency dancer from the Hampshire dancers, if I am not mistaken. Also during the evening, I also made new friends, one I hope to see in Copenhagen in the coming summer.

After several dances, dinner and dessert, we as guests were showed the excellent show off of a Scottish Reel, which was rather amazing! The dancers were excellent, and personally I thought it took a lot of energy to pull it off.

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Photo credit: Juliette Lichman

The evening ended on a familiar note of ‘The Savage’ dance which lovers of Pride and Prejudice will recognize as the dance where Mr. Darcy comments, “Every savage can dance” (Jane Austen) it was wonderful to dance it again, it is full of energy, life and happiness. And lastly our dancing master told us that we had permission to dance The Waltz. A dance I love, and always think of as a very romantic dance.

When the ball ended, several of us walked to ‘The Dome’ a bar and restaurant in Edinburgh, where we had drinks and could toast the birthday girl, my dear regency sister on her 26th birthday.

Sunday dawned after a few hours of sleep; we packed our things since we all were leaving during the day. Eva was the first, who was leaving, so we went out for breakfast at a café.

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Strawberries on toast for myself, and a full traditional Scottish breakfast plate for my dear regency sister, which included a bit of haggis, rather brave of her. Afterwards, Elaine, Christin and I made our way to the Georgian House – a National Trust Property.

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In my eyes it does have a small reassemble to Lyme Park which portrayed Pemberley in the ’95 version of Pride and Prejudice. Well, Christin left us to go to the airport and therefore Elaine and I continued on our last day of adventure.

Once inside the house and past the desk in the hall, it felt like we had returned to late 18th century or early 19th century, despite our modern clothes I could easily imagine myself there during the early 19th century during a morning call to the Mistress of the House. Elaine and I tried to write with a very faulty pen and ink, and we had black ink on our fingers for hours afterwards, haha.

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We visited the whole house, including the butler’s room in the basement, alongside of the kitchen which was spotless; I did wonder if they had a Cook like Mrs. Patmore? Well Elaine and I spent quite some time in the shop attached to the house, as we walked back towards the castle district we walked on a street, which reminded me rather a lot of Great Pulteney St. in Bath – it felt like being back in south England once more. Can’t wait to be back!

On Victoria Street I ended up buying a scarf for myself in the Gryffindor colors, much to Elaine’s amusement. Then we made our way to The National Portrait Gallery, where we were meeting James Arnott for tea, before I had to be in the airport. After a lovely tea, and a very quick peek at a few portraits I was off back to Roseberry Crescent for my suitcase and then I was off to Edinburgh Airport, which sadly ended my visit to Edinburgh for this time.

I look forward to returning, hopefully next year. I hope to see more acquaintances there as well.

200 years of Jane Austen

2017 is another amazing year, not only because it has been 200 years since the world lost a wonderful authoress, but also because of this year’s busy schedule of regency events around the globe. 

This spring will be very busy for me as well; starting university college, manage my travels to participate in Jane Austen events around Europe, and also find time for family, friends and maybe even find romance. 

The early spring will see myself in company with friends and my regency sister, in Edinburgh in Scotland. Another city I’m eager to investigate, especially in the best company. Not only to have fun at a regency ball which also will see Stuart Marsden attending from the rumours I have heard, but also to celebrate a certain sister’s birthday while in Edinburgh 🎉🎁🍾🍸

Edinburgh can boast of being the home to several movie locations as I was informed of; Harry Potter, Outlander and others – but the city also holds an amazing rich history; from war ridden Celtic area to the Scottish home of the Queen and Prince/duke Phillip of Edinburgh. I do wonder if I am the only one who was surprised at knowing that Prince Phillip had Danish roots? But then again all the Royals can more or less be traced back to one Danish King, the man known as ‘All of Europe’s father-in-law’ King Christian IX of Denmark 🇩🇰 Hahah yeah guilty as charged I’m a history nerd 🤓 

The 200th anniversary of Austen’s death is this year and I already know of more than twenty different balls, not only in Europe but also in America and Australia. There is the Alton week in early June, a summer picnic (though Victorian more than regency) in Brighton in July, Malta in the coming month (February), then the American Austen festival in Kentucky if my memory doesn’t fail me, the famous Jane Austen festival in Bath (UK), the Austen festival in Canberra in April, a ball in Berlin in May (the same one I attended last November if my dear readers remember 😊) and again in November and several smaller events in Holland, Belgium 🇧🇪, France 🇫🇷, Germany 🇩🇪, Canada 🇨🇦, Switzerland 🇨🇭, Belarus 🇧🇾 and many other places, – for more accurate dates check: Regency Dances

So it has been 200 years since Jane died, but readers have enjoyed her beloved characters for more than 205 years; Darcy, Bingley, Elizabeth, Jane, Edward, Elinor, Marianne, Colonel Brandon, Captain Wentworth, Anne, Edmund, Fanny, Catherine, Henry, Emma and Mr. Knightly. 

(I know some of the pictures are not Austen characters but it was the best I could do 😁) 

Many generations have read her famous words. “It’s a truth universally acknowledged truth that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” And many other beautifully crafted lines which are memorable, including; the heartfelt letter from Captain Wentworth to Anne. “A word, a look will be enough…” 

And so many people around the globe 🌎 celebrates her works annually in every corner of the world – and hopefully will continue to love her works for many generations to come. 

Guest blog with Karin Quint, The Jane Austen Travel Guide

Hello Hello dear readers!

Today I am hosting Karin Quint, the author of “The Jane Austen Travel Guide” and she will tell how she fell in love with Austen and got the idea to write a travel guide to all the places where Jane lived, visited and we associate with her books and the many movie locations. Karin will also need your help dear readers, since her travel guide need to be translated to English from Dutch. I, for one think it is an awfully good idea!

I will go straight to my questions, Karin, so…

How did you fall in love with Jane Austen and her world?

When I was about 20 years old I bought a couple of secondhand books on a flea market for just a few quid. I was a student at the time and had just moved to a different student accommodation that had an enormous bookcase that needed to be filled. One of the books I bought was an Old Dutch translation from Pride and Prejudice. I started reading and couldn’t put it down. After I finished it, I immediately watched the BBC series, and then I was hooked.

Is the Jane Austen movement very active in Holland?

Yes it is! In 2009 I started the website and community JaneAusten.nl and around the same time the Dutch Jane Austen Society was founded. They organise offline events like workshops and talks, while I bring Jane Austen news and organise online events. The two initiatives have brought together lots of Dutch Jane Austen fans who up until then didn’t know of each others existence.

What made you write a travel guide to Jane Austen’s England?

I always like to visit places related to Jane Austen whenever I’m in England. I know many others do as well. But when you’ve visited the usual places like Bath and Chawton, where do you go next? As webmaster of JaneAusten.nl I frequently got asked for advice about making a Jane Austen tour. And I was a very surprised to find out there wasn’t a comprehensive Jane Austen travel guide. So I decided to write one myself. I pitched the idea at Gottmer Publishing Group, one of the leading travel guide publishers in The Netherlands, and they offered me a contract right away. The book was published in 2014, and the second edition came out last July.

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What is your favorite Austen related place to visit?

That’s a difficult question! Chawton is of course at the top of my list. It’s such a special place and you automatically feel very close to Jane Austen when you’re there. But I also like small villages like Adlestrop and Hamstell Ridware, where Jane visited family. Those places haven’t changed very much since her time, and you can really imagine her walking through the streets and going to church there.

How is the kick starter for the English version of the Travel Guide going?

It’s going very well! We have until December 7 to reach our funding goal of €14,000, and we are almost halfway there now. With this money we can have the book translated into English (it’s only available in Dutch now), print a limited edition and ship the books around the world to our backers.

Kickstarter is all-or-nothing. This means that if we do not reach our funding goal, we do not get the money (and no payment will be taken from the credit cards of our backers) and the book will not be published in English. I think that would be a real pity. So I am very grateful to the people who have backed so far, and I hope we can find a lot more backers!

How can people best help?

There are different ways to help:

* Back the project on Kickstarter (link: http://kck.st/2fuhfJJ) by ordering a copy of the book in advance. Or make a small donation (you can do that starting from €1). I’m grateful for every pledge, however great or small!

* Spread the word, by sharing the Kickstarter project on social media, email it to friends who might be interested and talk about it. We must try to reach as many Jane Austen lovers as we can before December 7th.

Is there a big audience for your Travel Guide?

I hope so. The book is still doing very well in The Netherlands and Belgium, and I know there are lots more Janeites in the rest of the world who would love to travel to the England and visit locations connected to Jane Austen’s life, work and film adaptations. Our biggest challenge is to reach them in a short period of time.

Which movie version of Pride and Prejudice do you prefer?

The BBC series from 1995 was the first adaptation I saw, and it will be no surprise to you that I have preferred that one ever since. I always watch the 2005 film when I need a quick Austen fix, but whenever I have more time, I like to watch the series.

Which Mr. Darcy is your favorite?

Colin Firth, without a doubt. Though I must say I very much enjoyed Sam Riley as Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It would be great to see him in a ‘normal’ adaptation!

Which variation is your favorite?

My absolute favorite is the trilogy ‘Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman’ by Pamela Aidan. She tells the story of Pride and Prejudice from Mr. Darcy’s perspective and does that extremely well! Because it’s a trilogy she really takes the time to show the reader what life would be like for a gentleman of Mr Darcy’s stature. It’s interesting, funny and very romantic!pamela-aiden-books

Do you have a favorite variation author who you would recommend to other Austen lovers/readers?

She’s not a variation author, but an author I would absolutely recommend to any Austen fan is Georgette Heyer. She wrote about fifty novels and many of them are situated in the regency period. She had an amazing sense of humor and reading her novels always makes me happy.

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Thank you, Karin for answering my questions and good luck with your kick starter for your Travel Guide! I look forward to seeing it printed in English!